This case study examined five preservice music teachers’ experiences with and perceptions of a post-student teaching internship in a high-needs school district, as well as what the participants believed the post-student teaching internship provided them that student teaching placements in thriving programs did not. Participants became frustrated with the school climate created by other professionals—not students—and by music’s inferior status within the district. The frustration with music’s “second-tier” status, in comparison to subjects evaluated through standardized tests, might be an added stress preservice music teachers experience in high-needs schools. These findings might suggest that the praxis shock participants experienced arose from their noninstructional duties and the district culture, not from the classroom. Preparation for high-needs settings perhaps includes developing what might be called “culturally relevant professionalism,” which systematically investigates sociocultural contexts to help preservice teachers learn the noninstructional roles of navigating district cultures.

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